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Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society

On-line version ISSN 1678-4790


SANTOS, Laís C.; POLI, Alessandra L.; CAVALHEIRO, Carla C. S.  and  NEUMANN, Miguel G.. The UV/H2O2 - photodegradation of poly(ethyleneglycol) and model compounds. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. [online]. 2009, vol.20, n.8, pp. 1467-1472. ISSN 1678-4790.

The general mechanism for the photodegradation of polyethyleneglycol (PEG) by H2O2/UV was determined studying the photooxidation of small model molecules, like low molecular weight ethyleneglycols (tetra-, tri-, di-, and ethyleneglycol). After 30 min of irradiation the average molar mass (Mw) of the degradated PEG, analysed by GPC, fall to half of its initial value, with a concomitant increase in polydispersitivity and number of average chain scission (S), characterizing a random chain scission process yielding oligomers and smaller size ethyleneglycols. HPLC analysis of the photodegradation of the model ethyleneglycols proved that the oxidation mechanism involved consecutive reactions, where the larger ethyleneglycols gave rise, successively, to smaller ones. The photodegradation of ethyleneglycol lead to the formation of low molecular weight carboxylic acids, like glycolic, oxalic and formic acids.

Keywords : photooxidative degradation; H2O2/UV system; poly(ethyleneglycol); ethyleneglycols.

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